When I was asked to write an article about what parents should tell their children about life insurance, I was at a loss about how a parent should address this issue with their child. I mean, who wants to discuss the topic of death with your children, right? Some parents are turned off at the thought of purchasing a life insurance policy for a child. With grandparents, that is not so much the case. Wisdom comes with age and experience. Germans have a saying: “We get too soon old, and too late smart.”
But dying is a part of living. I remember attending my Grandfather Kolbe’s funeral when I was just 5 years old. I didn’t immediately understand what had happened, just that Opa was no longer there. Children don’t grasp the concept of death and dying until a later age. Only after experiencing more of these events as other relatives passed on did I begin to understand that dying is a natural occurrence. My life situation enabled me to understand at an earlier age than most children.
I’ll explain with a personal story…
Both my grandfather and father were funeral directors. I grew up around the business. Later my father owned a flower shop across the street from the funeral home. Funeral flowers were a big business back then. Lots of interaction with bereavement left me more comfortable with the emotional issues of death.
Later while in high school I attended emergency medical technician (EMT) training and worked for an ambulance service at another local funeral home. Yes it’s true, you read correctly, as most ambulance services were operated by funeral homes before fire departments and hospitals took over the responsibility of providing emergency medical services (EMS). Now I’m really aging myself, because I wonder how many people remember that! I’ve performed CPR more times than I have fingers and toes. No wonder my knees are shot.
One of my job duties - when I wasn’t running medical calls - was to go with the funeral directors to make what is known as a “first call.” First call is the initial contact the funeral director makes with a family after a death occurs. This may occur at a hospital, home or the scene of an incident where the funeral home takes possession of the deceased. Great care and respect are shown for the body of a loved one, and compassion given to grieving relatives is paramount during the entire process, from first call to burial and beyond.
So when I got my first full-time job, my father sat me down and explained that he had a life insurance policy on me that he bought when I was 3 years old. He told me that it was important to have life insurance because you never know what can happen. Having worked at a funeral home, in emergency medicine and then in law enforcement, this was a not a foreign topic to me. I was happy to take over the premium payments on this policy and later used a protection rider to double my coverage without further medical underwriting. I just paid the extra premiums, which were very reasonable for the coverage.
I remember many occasions when families were making arrangements with the funeral director that when the subject of payment for the funeral came up, the deceased had no or inadequate insurance to pay for the funeral. Families had to scramble to scrape up enough funds to pay for a proper funeral, and for many that was very hard to do. This created an immediate financial hardship which only was compounded later with the loss of the deceased’s income.
So you can see how and why I understand the value of having life insurance protection. It’s part of my life experience. I think there’s value in telling my story.
Parents, if you purchase whole life insurance for your child, remember it’s insurance for their future. It’s not only a gift, but an investment in their future financial protection, taken out at a young age at optimum health, with premiums that are locked in for the life of the policy.
This solid protection is a given in an uncertain world. Do yourself and your child a favor. No matter your “child’s” age, whether 10 or 30 years old, help them to understand the value and necessity of adequate life insurance protection. Keep this coverage into adulthood and beyond, while considering a Hermann Sons term life product for the extra protection needed for marriage, children, mortgage and business. It is simply the smart, logical thing to do.
Pass it on. Life insurance is important!